Gaviria beats Ewan in the clash of the sprint talents

Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) proved his status as probably the biggest sprint talent in the world by winning the first ever WordTour sprint he has ever done. In a hugely anticipated battle, he narrowly held off Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE), with Elia Viviani (Sky) being a very distant third. Zdenek Stybar retained the lead.

Orica-GreenEDGE and Etixx-QuickStep had been leading the chase all day with the trio of Svein Tuft, Yves Lampaert and Julien Vermote but apart from a small hand from Movistar, they hadn’t got any help. The gap was down to 1.20 with 20km to go and things seemed to be in control

During the next four kilometres, they gained 20 seconds on the escapees and it looked like there would be no danger. The three hard-working domestiques were still trading pulls and were now joined by Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE).

With 11km to go, the gap was down to 40 seconds and the escapees passed the 10km to go barrier with an advantage of exactly 33 seconds. That’s where the situation changed as Lampaert and Tuft swung off, leaving it to just Durbridge and Vermote to set the pace.

Suddenly, the gap stabilized and it was around 30 seconds for a few kilometres. With 5km to go, it was even 35 seconds and there was still no support for Vermote and Durbridge.

However, there was a big injection of pace inside the final 5km and suddenly the gap melted away. With 2km to go, the quartet only had 10 seconds and with 1.4km to go, it was over.

At that point, IAM had hit the front, trying to set Leigh Howard up for the sprint but it was Tinkoff that took control under the flamme rouge. Daniele Bennati, Oscar Gatto and Adam Blythe did a perfect job to put Peter Sagan into position and the Slovakian was delivered on the front as they hit the finishing straight.

That’s where Gaviria made his move and he accelerated hard on the right-hand side of the world champion. He immediately got a big gap but still had Ewan on his wheel. The Australian tried to come around but when he hit the wind, his progress stalled and he had to settle for second place, with Viviani edging out Sagan in the battle for third.

It was a great day for Etixx-QuickStep as Zdenek Stybar arrived safely and so he retains his 9-second lead over Greg Van Avermaet in the overall standings. He faces a harder stage tomorrow on the fourth day. After a rolling start with just one categorized climb at the midpoint, the riders will hit the key climb of Montefalco for the first time, cresting the summit with 57.7km to go. Having reached the finish for the first time, they will do one lap of 46.4km circuit that includes the climbs of Trevi (4.0km, 5.3%, max. 16%) and Montefalco (5.5km, 4.1%, max. 18%, long stretches with gradients of over 12%) and the latter is located just 14.9km from the finish. With a flat finale, a reduced bunch sprint is expected.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2016 – stage 3 results (Castelnuovo Val di Cecina – Montalto di Castro):

1 Fernando Gaviria (Etixx – QuickStep)

4:17:28

2 Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE)

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3 Elia Viviani (Sky)

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4 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)

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5 Leigh Howard (IAM)

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6 Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)

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7 Zico Waeytens (Giant-Alpecin)

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8 Sacha Modolo (Lampre – Merida)

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9 Moreno Hofland (LottoNl-Jumbo)

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10 Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin)

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Caleb ewan elia viviani Fernando Gaviria tirreno-adriatico zdenek stybar

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